Identification of Counterfeit Drugs by Community Pharmacists in Lagos State
Purpose: The problem of fake and counterfeit drugs is real and constitutes a major threat to the health and safety of the Nigerian population. A descriptive study was carried out to assess the methods of identification of counterfeit drugs by community pharmacists in Lagos State.
Methods: The research instrument was a 23-item questionnaire, which was administered to consenting community pharmacists in 17 out of the 20 Local Government Areas in Lagos State. A convenient sample of practicing community pharmacists both in retail and wholesale distribution of pharmaceutical products were recruited into the study using a list of registered pharmacists from the Association of Community Pharmacists in Lagos State. Effort was made to ensure adequate representation of Pharmacies in every local government area in Lagos State.
Results: All the respondents agreed that there is a fake and counterfeit drug problem in Nigeria, and (74%) considered this a major problem. The respondents commonly used visual security techniques before drug purchasing. These were: Seals/embossments (83%), character of print (77%), and Holograms (68%).The respondents' most likely action after a counterfeit drug encounter was to return the drug back to the supplier.
Conclusion: The study showed that pharmacists sampled were aware of the prevalence of fake and counterfeit drugs and quite a number of them have had encounters with them. There is an indication that the respondents try to assure themselves of the quality of the drugs they purchase by use of several methods. However, no rigorous effort was taken to confirm as well as report suspected fake and counterfeit drugs to regulatory authorities.
Keywords: Community pharmacists, drug identification, fake and counterfeit drugs.
> Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research Vol. 5 (1) 2006: pp. 545-550